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The four NRLW stars that dominated comp’s best season


As four teams became six this season, history was also made on Dally M night, with two stars sharing Rugby League’s most prestigious honour. As the competition evolves, stars keep emerging.

Dragons’ breakout fullback Emma Tonegato and Broncos front rower Millie Boyle both finished on top of polling, seeing joint-winners for the first time.

Also starring during the season were Eels pair Simaima Taufa and Botille Vette-Welsh.

Here’s how their seasons stood out.

= 1. Emma Tonegato – 8 votes

Nicknamed ‘the Ferrari’, Tonegato has been outstanding as Dragons fullback in her first season in the NRLW.

Tonegato was a standout for the Red V as she returned to rugby league after an eight-year stint in rugby sevens where she won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 27-year-old scored four tries in the six game competition and had three try assists, six line-break assists, five line breaks and 967 running metres – second only to Millie Boyle.

The Dragons’ flyer had a tackling efficiency of 93 per cent and a running average of 159 metres a game.

Tonegato also claimed Tackle of the Year, a try-saving chase-down effort Roosters flyer Jess Sergis in Round 5.

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= 1. Millie Boyle – 8 votes

Brisbane Broncos forward Boyle was one of the most consistent players for her side during the NRLW season.

Boyle averaged 198 metres per game for the defending champions as they claimed the minor premiership on the way to a preliminary final.

During the season, Boyle scored three tries in only five games and ran for a competition high 993 total running metres.

The big prop was hard to handle for defenders and made 14 tackle breaks with 378.7 post-contact metres.

3. Simaima Taufa – 7 votes

In the club’s inaugural season, the Parramatta lock and captain was inspirational.

In an up-and-down season for the Eels, the 27-year-old played consistent footy and finished with one try to her name.

Taufa was a strong ball runner and averaged 13 hit ups a game with 128 running metres.

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4. Botille Vette-Welsh – 6 votes

While she just missed the Dally M podium, the Parra fullback did earn the club’s Player of the Year honour.

Vette-Welsh was electric in attack and always a handful for defences.

She filled the stat sheet, averaging 160 run metres per game, to go with a season that included a try, two try assists, four line breaks and 19 tackle breaks.

Unfortunately, the 25-year-old will miss next season after tearing her ACL against the Broncos in the final round.

Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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